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Wayward pigeon rescued by Royal Navy vessel 300 miles at sea

July 27, 2013 at 12:21 AM   |   Comments

REDCAR, England, July 27 (UPI) -- A wrong-way racing pigeon rescued by British sailors in the Atlantic Ocean 300 miles from land is heading home to Yorkshire.

The pigeon landed on a Navy frigate, HMS Somerset, last week, the Darlington and Stockton Times reported Thursday. The crew named the pigeon Paul -- before they discovered it was female -- and gave it food and water and a temporary coop.

"It was a stroke of luck that Paul found Somerset. We just hope we can reunite her with her owner," said William Hughes, a leading seaman and former pigeon fancier. "She will certainly have a few sea stories to tell her fellow pigeons."

The owner, Gilbert Hartshorn of Redcar, has been traced, The Northern Echo reported. Hartshorn said the pigeon's land name is Aurora-Tom after his grandchildren.

"I would like to say thank you to the crew of HMS Somerset for looking after my distressed pigeon," Hartshorn said. "Particularly the captain, who agreed to have a lost soul onboard until the ship returned alongside."

Hartshorn said that, given its sense of direction, the pigeon's racing days are over. Instead, it will become his pet.

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